Thursday, October 11, 2007

On Private Security Contractors (PSC's)

Much has been said and written of late about Private Security Contractors, especially in the Iraq theater. Following are some observations that I have noted, and would like to share with the readers.
First, What Blackwater and other PSC's do, once was done by the U.S. Marines. The previous administration, (Bill, Hillary and Monica), felt that there were many menial tasks performed by our military that could be better done by privatization. One of these was the burden of guarding State Department personnel in foreign countries. Blackwater jumped on this new way to employ their services. Good for them!

Blackwater is not the only one doing this in Iraq, nor is the US of A the only country that these PSC's come from. There are British, Aussie, New Zealander, and even Arabian countries doing PSC contract work in Iraq. One such company, (not Blackwater USA), even gave PSC's quite a bit of infamy, due to a widely viewed video of them shooting innocent motorists as they escorted a convoy. While the employees responsible for this were fired and deported; it did manage to bring a black eye to the whole PSC industry. Blackwaters disastrous event in Fallujah brought even more negative publicity to the PSC's.

I have noticed that there is much crying and wailing about how long this war has been "drug out". Given this much time; wouldn't you think that every Iraqi driver has learned that to approach an escorted convoy, to rush a checkpoint, was certain to invite death? In the Sept 16th or was it 17th incident, Blackwater has been accused of needlessly shooting innocents. In Iraq, how do you recognize an innocent? Women and children wear bombs, drive bomb-laden vehicles, right along with the suicidal jihadi male. To aggress these convoys does not necessarily mean to shoot at them. When in a country that every vehicle, every donkey, every pedestrian is a potential bomb; aggression can be seen as just driving up on the convoy too fast. As best I know, the jihadis have not yet begun to mark their bombs and bombers with Hazmat signage.

For all that they are accused of; Blackwater USA has never had a client shot, blown up or kidnapped. While that fact would not excuse their actions, it does say that they are effective. These contractor employees know full well that they are in a dangerous job, doing exacting work, and that they can be fired as easy as being killed. They have much better things to do with their time than take potshots at innocent Iraqis. They fully realize that this sort of recklessness will make them targets throughout the country, and further endanger them and their co-workers.

As for the price that they are paid, it is much less than the military pricetag would be for the same service; if they could even do it as effect ively. And the military couldn't do it because of the bureaucratic spagetti that they'd have to wade through to even start the convoy moving.

The press and other uninformed types choose to call them "Mercenaries". There is no definition of the word that describes the PSC. None! These highly skilled sorts have chosen to put their life on the line in defense of others both for the wages and for patriotism. These guys do a very demanding job, very well. This is, after all, a War Zone children! There are bad guys, bad women, and yes, bad children. They carry bombs, they hide bombers, they do not tell the PSC where his threat is hiding.

Blackwater USA and other PSC's are accused of "luring" military types out of the service and over to their side. Doesn't every major company in the US of A do the same thing? Haven't heard any bitching because Boeing Aerospace lures a jet jockey out of the service to work for them.

I think that any contractor who would kill wantonly, without provocation is a threat to his convoy, to the US of A, and to his fellow contractors and should be immediately fired and charged. Contractors do not need anyone to cause more hatred than they are already under. I think that you should do your best to learn all sides of the issue, even meet a contractor, his wife, and his kids. They are no different that your other neighbors, your soldier down the street, or the cop on the block. A job was offered, he took it, and is doing his best to do the job the best way he knows how.

And for all the protestors of the PSC's, as well as those who protest our military, I can only say: "Suck it up, they are doing something that is far more dangerous than whatever it is that you do."

Monday, October 08, 2007


I copied the article below from a newsletter that I read weekly. It describes quite well just how I am approaching these reports from Afghanistan, and Iraq, regarding both our military and our private contractors. I was not there, you were not there, in each of the headline incidents. There is no way that either of us can make an educated decision about the conduct of those in question with nothing more than a few words from the news media. People jumped all over the Haditha incident, and have come to learn that there was no crime. This is war! Things happen! The same came of the US Ranger sniper that was found to be doing his job, that he does very well.

Because the Clinton administration chose to release the military from several points of duty, we have had a need to call upon the private sector to fill those needs. The Blackwater company is but one of several doing the things that the previous administration deemed not to burden the military with.


Definition: Subjective evaluation of relative significance; a point of view...

Blackwater Security Contractors - September 16 - Baghdad, Iraq - Nisoor Square...
We were not there... We did not share their point of view...
Facts are not yet clear and for those of us not there...
For those of us not inside the Company...
And not privy to the FBI investigation details...
The facts may never be clear!... At least not for us!

The media, much of Congress and critics are using every opportunity to express and publish anti-war and anti-Blackwater sentiments... They bash the State Department for using Security Contractors for the protection details... And ignite negative sentiments against everything that they can imagine that does not suit the people doing the inciting. Many of you who read these words will have some level of identifying with the Blackwater personnel who were in that incident. Some of you will be able to identify with them personally because you have been involved in some life threatening incident where someone else could have taken you out, or actually did try taking you out of the battle or out of this life just because you were there and they wanted to eliminate you and anyone with you.

Many of our government leaders do not comprehend the logistics of the demands of duty upon our military and the Security Contractors in Baghdad and all of Iraq... Nor upon our Peace Keepers here at home. Many media reporters use the story of the incident to grind some set of details into the minds of the readers... To instill some opinion that the reporter is pushing themselves. Some of these actions are so obvious as to sicken the stomach if one pays full attention to their words and actions.

If I were in a battle zone such as that one in Nisoor Square, I would be practicing great care knowing that it could be a death trap if any enemy wanted to cause great damage... This would likely be such a place. Then to see the traffic described... To do a sweep of the people present... To wonder why this car is not slowing and stopping... Or why that motorcycle is riding right into this jam... To question the motives of Iraqi Police standing by but taking no effort to control the approaching traffic...

All of this would be in my mind if I were one of the forward looking SC (Security Contractors) in that lead vehicle and in either of the following vehicles. I cannot state how I would react because I was not there but I can say that we all should bide our time and not rush to judgment in relation to the ones who were there and we assuredly should not be swayed by all of the past incidents that are being dredged up and spread all over the media every day since September 16th. Did innocent people die in that incident?... Most likely! Was their deaths intentional murder?... We may never know all of the details that would give us a clear answer... We might never be afforded the views seen by all of the SC involved.

If I had been there and the situation demanded that I fire my weapon in order to live and deliver the "Package" for which I was responsible, what would I have done?... I settled that question long ago for myself. Several people lived another day because they obeyed my instructions in several different incidents and I did not have to fire my weapon... but I was ready, willing and able to fire if they did not comply.

If I had a silver coin for each negative cut and comment that has been made against Blackwater and Security Contractors, just in the past three weeks, I would not be able to carry all of the coins... Yet we would not have been able to function, as we have in Iraq, if they had not been there doing their jobs and some of them making the ultimate sacrifice.

Erik Prince did a great job of focusing upon the truth and details of the incident as he and the Company Executives knew it then. He did a tremendous job of keeping the attention where it needed to be kept. He handled the interests of Blackwater very, very well and was a credit to the great community of Peace Keepers who have given and do give their service for the good of this great nation and it's interests.

There is a spiritual precept at work here, "Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], (until you have all of the evidence) and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, (until you have all of the evidence) and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty (until HE has all of the evidence); acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released." Luke 6:37 (Amplified) (Bold mine) Of course that is the Christian point of view and that is from where I must approach this situation.

Truth and Justice are attributes of my Commander-in-Chief. HE loves Truth and Justice. If we follow HIS instructions HE will bring about Truth and Justice... That which is hidden will be revealed. That which should be known will be known.

I am willing to pray for those involved and wait for the results of the investigation. I have been involved in enough incidents of my own, as a Peace Keeper, to know that this is the only path that any of us should take until all of the knowable information is in... True Justice must follow the evidence. Public and media attention should have no significance.

That's all that I have to say about that.

If you pray, pray for me this week. In the past few months I had to work as much as possible to meet income needs. I had to take three weeks off from work in order to take care of personal business and my disabled daughter is having in-patient surgery next week. When I do not work, I do not get paid. It is a part-time job with no benefits and no leave. I had just reached the good place of having caught up with meeting financial obligations and now I had to be off and we will be facing more medical expenses.

I miss all of my compatriots when I am not on the field where I belong. I look forward to being back out there soon.

Thank you for all that you have done and are doing to keep the rest of us safe and able to live as best we are able. This world would be a terrible place in which to live if it were not for people such as you doing what you can to provide peace and safety. THANK YOU... THANK YOU... THANK YOU...

"BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!" Be always, alert, watchful, suspicious and wary. Take the very best care of you that is possible while you are taking care of others. See to your spiritual welfare for you need to be spiritually strong to have good success.

Call or write if I may be of any service.

As it has always been... So it still is...



[My injunction to be safe means doing all you know to do as you do your job... it means doing the best you can with what you have where you are using all your faculties to get the job done well and with good results conquering evil and keeping or restoring peace... it does not mean to avoid duty and honor... it does not mean to cower or allow anything to hinder you in the process of duty according to rules, law and ethics... it means that if the demand takes your earthly life you destroy as much evil as possible in the process. That is my definition of being safe... doing the best you can and leaving the rest to God or whomever else is responsible... being best employed for the sake and protection of all the things and people that we hold dear.]

I represent, write for... and give the credit to:
God the Father (my Commander-in-Chief),
Jesus Christ the Son (the Eternal Captain of my life) and
the Holy Spirit of God (my Eternal Teacher, Keeper and Guide).
In Christ I live... with Him and for you I serve...
D. R. (Don) Staton,
Chaplain to Peace Keepers,
RETIRED Police Officer,
Certified Police Instructor,
3709 Beacon Lane, Virginia Beach, VA 23452